Vegas

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Photo by Darlene Taylor

16 years ago I walked past his cage in the North Hollywood pound.  He bounced to the front of the cage, stuck his nose through the bars and looked at me as if to say “Where are you going? I’m right here!”

I named him Vegas because of the white spots on his chest. They reminded me of dice, and dice reminded me of gambling, which is what happens, in … Vegas.

Lately he couldn’t bounce anymore, or even walk, and had to be put to sleep today. His running mate, Gretta, said her farewell earlier this year, just a few months ago.

I am so, so, so grateful for this amazing creature who made my life better for 16 years.  Here are some of my favorite memories:

The Canada Weekend

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Ok, this is a story I just have to tell, because it’s laced with Goodness and Mercy, because I can see the Favor of God all throughout that weekend (July 24-27, 2014), and because it was just so much fun!!!!

So here we go. I arrived at the campsite in Hope, British Columbia after 10pm and saw a familiar sight. This tent in a dark field:

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This is the exact same color tent as the one at Festival of Tents, an annual Oregon event that I have now attended at least 6 times. But I was soon to realize this isn’t just a gathering of three or four hundred.

When the next day lit, I was able to see the 100-acre space, venue of an annual camp-meeting that hosts attendance over 10,000 over the course of 10 days.

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In the cafeteria at breakfast time, I looked up saw a dear friend from College. “Tammie???!!! Is that you!!!!!”

Hugs and exclamations later, I returned to my table, only to look up and repeat the experience. “Brenda???!!! Is that you!!!!!”  At that point I had not been to Canada in 10 years. The last time I was there was to sing at Brenda’s wedding. Brenda also happens to be my relative through my former marriage.

I was the featured musical guest in the Wave Tent, that’s the tent in the picture above, and that’s the Youth/Young Adult tent.

I had some nerves about the fact I had not played a concert in 19 months at that point. I had not performed anywhere, although I had been easing back into music gradually by playing the bass here and there, then harmonizing with a worship leader here or there, and then  occasionally leading a single worship song in someone else’s set.

Friday night I walked on stage with some trepidation, but when I began to sing, it all melted away. I opened up and sang from my soul:

July 25 8PM – Lennox-HD 720p from British Columbia Adventist on Vimeo.


 

Saturday Morning, 3 songs plus the teaching time:

July 26 – Sabbath School-HD 720p from British Columbia Adventist on Vimeo.

Before I played, I was drawn to the passionate ministry style of a young man who was ministering with the worship team. We traded introductions, learned that we’re both from the caribbean, turns out his dad and my dad used to minister together on the same stages 30 years ago in the Caribbean, now here we are under the same tent in Canada, ministering together on the same stage. His name is Ron Maitland:

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After my 3-song set on Saturday morning, I was amazed to walk off stage right into the arms of my aunt Angela, also a relative by marriage, but as she held me and ministered to my spirit, she told me, “we are family for life, you remember that!”

She held me for a while and just nourished my soul, and while that was happening, 3 handsome gentlemen walked up and stood behind her waiting.

As soon as she released me, they began to inquire…

“What’s your name?”

“What’s your last name?”

“What’s your dad’s name?”

“Where are you from?”

Keep in mind, I have no idea who these guys are, and they’re just drilling me with questions.

Then they stopped and looked at each other, nodding and saying “Yes, he is…”

They’re my cousins!!! Blood relatives. Furthermore, they’ve been coming to this camp-meeting for 20 years so they also know my marriage relatives. So now both groups are sitting there saying “He’s ours–he’s your’s too?”

So now I have 3 new cousins I didn’t even know existed, who promptly drag me over to their campsite to meet 30 more cousins I didn’t know existed. During lunch that day, they got on the phone to the other 40 or so cousins that live in the area, and I overheard them saying “We found one! We found one!”

…Mind Blown!


 

One of the songs I sang was the first song I ever wrote, a song called My Father’s House. I wrote in 5 minutes in a church parking lot in Kohala, Hawaii. I practiced it once in the parking lot, then went inside and sang it. The couple with me in the photo at the very top, under the tent–they were present in that little church 25 years ago in Hawaii when I first sang that song. I get done singing the song under this tent in Canada, and they walk up to me and say, “We were there when you sang that song!”


 

I originally agreed to play on Friday night and Saturday. I brought 40 CD’s with me.  After I played 3 songs on Friday night, I was asked to stay an additional day, which I agreed to do. Because of staying an extra day, and because Pastor Kumar Dixit gave such a ringing endorsement of my ministry ( he really invited people to support me) I left Canada with only 1 cd!!!

I didn’t set a price. I just gave them away. I said “I want you to have this. If you want to put something in the box, that’s your gift to me. If you don’t have anything to put in, still take one, the CD’s are free to you!”

Would you believe that after those 39 CD’s were gone, there was over a thousand dollars in that box? I had agreed to play for $500 so all told, this was a $1500 gig for a solo man-with-guitar performance. That’s God-Favor right there!

 

Gratefully,

 

Lenn

p.s. I want to show you more pictures from that weekend, but I lost them during a file transfer. Operator error.

Maybe God wanted me to simply have the memory for myself to store up against lean times. This was an amazing weekend so, so, so full of goodness that it changed something inside me. I was so changed by containing that much goodness at once, that my capacity to receive goodness and my expectation that God wants to delight me, have both remained large and growing. I see His goodness everywhere now because I expect it and I’m on the lookout.

If I do find any more pictures, I’ll slip them in. But there are other stories to be told, so it’s time to release this one and dance with the moment in front of me.

Meanwhile, here’s another recording from the Wave Tent, Saturday Night. Just a quick story: The lost keys that are announced at the very beginning of the recording, those are my keys. I set them down on the stage before I started playing and when I heard the announcement I didn’t think they could be mine because I knew where I put them. Someone found them and turned them in. I didn’t realize until I got all done and everyone was gone, that those were my keys. It was midnight by then and anyone who could help me find them was already asleep, so I ended up sleeping on a sofa in the lounge of one of the buildings that night because I couldn’t get into my hotel room:

July 26 – 8PM-HD 720p from British Columbia Adventist on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Build Relationships, Love People

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This is Steven Smith, aka “Smitty.”

I’ve known him as an acquaintance for close to 15 years. But until 90 days ago, we hadn’t had a conversation. About 3 months ago we started meeting once a week. Incredible dude! He’s creating such an amazing story with his life. God in him, a beautiful story.

He’s the founder/creator of Anonymoose Joose, manufacturer of “Vape” juice. Newcomer to the scene, he’s already found a faithful following in this fast-growing niche market.

We’ve both left our jobs recently. We’re both feeling like God has encapsulated our instructions and our invitations in the words of Matthew 6:33 — “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

In context of our ongoing weekly conversation, this invitation has been distilled to the following: “Build relationships, Love people.”

He makes Vape Juice. I’m a Worship Pastor/Songwriter/Network Marketer. We’re in the same industry, the same relationship-building, people-loving, God-serving business.

Here’s to you, Smitty!